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Beware the Snowman: How to deal with a disengaged audience

Ginger Leadership Communications

Most public speakers dread a disengaged audience. It’s that horrible feeling of speaking to yourself. But how do you thaw an audience who are acting as blank and cold as a Snowman?

Who is The Snowman?

No matter how much you talk to a Snowman (in real life, or in your audience), they won’t respond. Snowmen are often socially anxious and will avoid participating in workshops or interactive parts of speeches. At the same time it’s important to know your audience of snowmen are very aware of how a speaker behaves towards them, even if they struggle to give you eye contact. No eye contact might be because they’re tweeting how fabulous you are or sharing on Facebook your key speech points, so in this day and age it isn’t always a bad thing. In fact it can be very VERY good.

How to handle the Snowman audience type:

  • You won’t get too much immediate feedback from a room full of Snowmen, but it doesn’t mean they’re not enjoying what you say – don’t be put off by how quiet they are.
  • Try to warm them up by welcoming them into the room, smiling, creating a positive atmosphere and starting gently with any interactivity.
  • Snowmen are often the most reflective members of an audience. Because of their detachment from the group, they can offer useful insights into your topic, if you directly ask them for their opinion.

Yes… the Snowmen ARE listening!  

Just because it appears your snowman audience is distracted, it doesn’t mean they’re not listening. Some audience members listen BETTER when they’re doing something else; doodling, taking notes, or tweeting how fabulous a speaker you are.

Don’t be offended by those who tweet, text, or take notes when you speak. It’s not the norm in old school public speaking circles to speak to an audience of people who appear to be engrossed in technology. We have all been to conferences where people seemed to pay more attention to their electronic devices than to the live person on the podium. This is more the norm now than ever. Live-tweeting is a “thing” now, sharing the amazing moments of a speech with the social media world as it happens. At a recent TEDx event, I did this as well.

Technology connects the world AND increases your global audience. From your tweeting, the texting snowman can come an entirely new audience from the Twitter/Facebook/Google stratosphere. The more the merrier yes? I mean that is the whole idea right? To reach as many as you can with your message of change! So don’t fear the Snowman, quiet and looking down can be a very VERY good thing.

More information on how to connect with your audience?

You betcha! If you’re eager to become a more inspiring speaker, Ginger has a multitude of courses just right for you! From freebies to e-courses, books to workshops, jump in to Ginger. Click here for a full list of Ginger courses and resources.

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